The 10 most evil children in movie history

The 10 most evil children in movie history. By Simon Miraudo.

This week we were treated to the super-creepy new trailer for Lynne Ramsay’s We Need to Talk About Kevin, in which Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly play parents who must come to terms with the fact that their son might be pure evil (dead giveaway: the bit in the trailer where baby Kevin gives his mother the stink eye when she playfully rolls a ball toward him. Get the hell out of there Tilda!). In honour of Kevin’s shudder-factor, we’re looking back on the 10 most evil children in cinema history

1. Regan MacNeil in The Exorcist

This is an easy one, so let’s get it out of the way early. Perhaps there is no more famous ‘evil child’ in the history of film than The Exorcist’s Regan. BUT, it’s not the one that gets imitated time and time again (see #2 for that). You have to appreciate 13-year-old Linda Blair’s bravery and boldness in playing a tormented girl possessed by a sexually-charged demon

2. Damien Thorn in The Omen

Often imitated and never bettered, the template for the dead-eyed and irrefutably wicked youngling was set by Damien in The Omen. Fathered by Satan, and birthed by a jackal (seriously – a jackal), not even a nurturing adoptive family could sway Damien of his evil ways. The first red flag? At a birthday, he wishes for his nanny to hang herself. And she does it!

3. Klara in The White Ribbon

Outdamning the Children of the Damned, and outcorning the Children of the Corn, the elusive ringleader of Michael Haneke’s band of creepy kids is either responsible for some psychotically weird and cruel crimes, or totally innocent. We’re leaning towards the former.

4. Michael Myers in Halloween

In the opening moments of John Carpenter’s horror classic Halloween, we witness – in chilling first person POV – the brutal murder of a pretty young thing. When the sequence ends, the camera pulls back and reveals it was her brother – little Michael Myers, in a clown outfit – that did the deed. Years later, Rob Zombie would build an entire movie around this peerless scene, almost ruining cinema in the process.

5. Claudia in Interview with a Vampire

Kirsten Dunst broke onto the scene as a tiny bloodsucker so evil you practically cheer on her fiery demise. We wished her character in Elizabethtown had met a similar fate.

6. Sam in Trick R Treat

Can we classify an immortal mutant who exists purely to enforce the rules and regulations of All Hallows Eve as an ‘evil child’? Sure, we can do whatever we like. What is this, Ceaușescu’s Romania?

7. The Grady Twins in The Shining

They’ve not really done anything evil per se (it wasn’t their fault they were murdered, although showing little Danny their bloodied corpses and begging him to play with them ‘forever’ could definitely be considered inappropriate). Still, they give us the chills.

8. Eli in Let the Right One In

Depending how you watch Let the Right One In, it’s either a touching love story between a young boy and the female (enough) vampire girl who protects him. OR, it’s the tale of a manipulative and ageless castrato who convinces an innocent kid to become their slave. But they’re both two sides of the same coin anyway, right?

9. Mathilda Lando in Leon: The Professional

OK, she’s had a pretty hard life, but she’s still essentially a sociopath. See also: Hit Girl from Kick-Ass.

10. Jacob Benson in The Day the Earth Stood Still

Don’t let Jaden Smith fool you. There may not seem to be anything particularly evil about this kid … until you realise the fate of the universe rests solely on his shoulders (and whether or not Keanu Reeves’ alien Klaatu likes him enough to keep Earth alive). The kid is almost annoying enough to convince us viewers that the world is probably better off dead.

 Discuss: What are your picks for the most evil children in movie history?

35 Responses to “The 10 most evil children in movie history”

  1. My pick is Henry Evans in The Good Son! One of Macaulay’s finest roles.

  2. The Perry Twins in Robert Mulligan’s ‘The Other’ from 1972 are my pick.

  3. There was a young girl in the original Bad Seed movie who was fairly homicidal and creepily weird. The McCauley Culkin remake didn’t cut it.

  4. Kevin in Home Alone. Pure evil.

  5. Jack Merridew in Lord of the Flies

  6. How can you possibly write an article about evil children without mentioning Patty McCormack in “The Bad Seed”? Shame, Quickflix, shame!

  7. Yeah, what Sean said.

  8. What about this little bastard in Pet Semetary:

  9. Rhoda Penmark in The Bad Seed: she burns alive the hired help, Leroy, who begins to suspect that she is a killer!

  10. Esther in the movie Orphan should be up there- horrible little girl!

  11. I still say the Red Queen in Resident Evil, most of the above are just naughty kids!!

  12. All of the kids in The Midwich Cuckoos

  13. Esther in “Orphan”. OK, so she turned out to be a twenty-something year old psychopath, but she played a pretty convincing and evil 9 year old for most of the movie. Very scary

  14. Macauley Culkin in The Good Son and the girl in The Reaping

  15. Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) in Orphan. Technically a 30-something playing a child, but pure evil none-the-less!

  16. Mikey for sure

  17. you’ve forgotten one of the “original” evil children the young girl from the frightening “The Bad Seed” (available on DVD) it’s a great old B&W film

  18. Macauley Culkin in The Good Son gets my vote -that kid seriously gave me the creeps!

  19. Macauley Culkin in The Good Son, the twins in The Other, and the creepy girl who murders her adoptive baby brother in ‘Godsend’ and makes her adoptive father sterile by kissing him in his sleep with the mumps. Deliah in the Omen 4 is pretty evil and the all time evil child is of course DAMIEN in the Omen, I even called my dog Damien after him LOL. Love those evil kid movies.

    The kids in Children of the Damned were pretty creepy too with that platinum blonde hair and red glowing eyes.

  20. How about Samara from The Ring? I’ve had several nightmares about her!

  21. The young boy from the movie “The Innocents” with Deborah Kerr.

  22. I think it was the girl in “the Bad Seed”. She was truly evil.

  23. I agree with the bad seed – that blond girl was so good

  24. you missed… the orphan

  25. I Just watched case 39, Lilith was pretty creepy

  26. Christina de Bruin Reply October 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    McCauley Culkin in The Good Son.

  27. How in the hell could you leave out Rhoda Penmark in the Bad Seed?! Are you kidding me? You put the twin girls in The Shining who only made a brief appearance yet leave out The Bad Seed, the most famous child murderer ever! That is stupid. Very stupid.

    • Lighten up Rufus! 8 other comments agree with you but haven’t expressed it with the same indignant bluster. It’s only a movie, old chap.

  28. Esther in the movie Orphan should be up there- horrible little girl!

  29. Esther in Orphan should’ve been included in this list!

  30. Well you have to include
    Macauley Culkin from the good son
    Brain Bosnell from Mikey
    All the kids from Children of the Corn
    Miko Huges in Pet Cemetary
    The children from Bloody Birthday

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